Let’s call a spade a spade – the way you present yourself to the world, visually speaking, is important. It makes for a large chunk of the first impression you make, and you know how difficult it is to fix a bad first impression. You want to go out into the world well put together, but more importantly, you need a signature style. It is what you’ll be recognized for; it’s what gives you confidence; it’s what makes you perceived as capable and consistent. Having said all that, there are still people out there with no defined sense of style – fashion victims of sorts. These are the people who are simply lost due to such a huge amount of styles, trends and choices. Sometimes having too many choices is a bad thing, because it hinders our ability to choose just one (or a couple) that work for us. So, let’s see what it is that you’re doing wrong so you could make your best effort to fix your style mistakes and find your signature look.
Constricted by your gender and orientation
What Elyssa Slinkard wrote in her article titled Not Quite Butch is straight to the point. She says that even though she identifies as feminine, she has gone through quite a struggle to find that perfect balance between her masculine and feminine side, and let’s face it, finding clothes that represent the best of both worlds is difficult, but she seems to be on to something. When she visits her favorite stores, she doesn’t shy away from turning to the men’s section and finding clothes that fit better and make her feel more like herself. Sometimes she’ll find something amazing in the women’s section, but her wide hips crave the cuts that are meant for men. So perhaps this is one of the things you’re doing wrong – sticking to your ‘gender-designated’ side of the store. Branch out, try several things on and simply go with what fits and feels good instead of being constricted by gender roles.
Not taking pride
Sometimes you have a very clear idea of how you want to dress, but you feel that your desired style won’t be accepted by society. Well, it’s time to unshackle yourself from the ‘what will people say’ and wear whatever you want to wear. If you want to dress androgynously, do it, and take pride in it as these boys and girls do. Just looking at their style pics makes you more inspired and bold to take the plunge, doesn’t it? Look for inspiration in places such as fashion blogs, Instagram, and Pinterest. Wear both boys’ shirts and cool women’s denim shorts. Wear dresses with bold leather jackets. Mix and match, experiment. If you have both a feminine and a masculine side to you, combine the two, and you’ll end up with a killer look that is 100 percent you. You are bound to find and piece together a look that will tell the world exactly who you are, but if you’re going to rock it, you have to rock it with confidence.
If you identify as queer, chances are you’re a feminist as well, and that is a tough place to be in today’s world. It’s like, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. As Marjorie Jolles and Shira Tarrant shrewdly observe, if you’re a feminist you are instantly labelled as frumpy, devoid of style. Yes, fashion can help you express yourself, but in today’s world, it can also stifle you. If, for instance, you want to be a feminist who dresses in a sexy way, you’re made to believe that you’ve been tricked into giving the patriarchy exactly what they want. What you have to do is dance to the beat of your drum, once again, and if you want to dress in a way that is sexy and feminine, do it, and let the patriarchy think what it will.
The point is, you already know what kind of message you want to send; you are already drawn to a certain style, be it athleisure, casual, butch, feminine or even a mixture of all of them. As millennials, we have the right to mix styles and not give a damn. It’s those external voices that become internalized that are holding you back, so you need to sit down, look at yourself in the mirror, go out, shop for the looks YOU like and not give a smidge of attention to onlookers, naysayers and narrow-minded people who would be better off spending time paying attention to their bland style. Be bold, be you and everything else will fall into place.